Summer Snacks: Peppablues!

By: Summer Babiarz

This week my Weight Watchers leader emphasized getting a lot of flavor into your food. I see her point. I do tend to graze less throughout the day if I have had something that is truly flavorful and satisfying. So with the idea of big bold flavors in mind I would like to introduce to you the glistening, fire engine red, juicebombs that are Peppadews! These little guys pack a lot of punch with very few calories. They are sweet, spicy and tangy all at the same time. If you stuff these hallow little wonders with almost any firm or crumbly cheese your taste buds will thank you

In honor of the upcoming 4th of July holiday, I have chosen to pack them to the brim with Rogue River Blue from Oregon.  Rogue River Creamery  has been a leader in American artisan cheesemaking for over 80 years. This cheese in particular is a monger favorite behind the counter at Murray’s because it is punchy and yet well balanced. It doesn’t hurt that it is soaked in pear brandy and presents its leaf-wrapped gorgeouness on a cheese board in a way that makes you look like a rockstar. Whatever the reasons- professional cheesemongers love this cheese and it’s no accident.

Peppablues!

Inspired by the scarcity of great blue cheese in America, Founder of Rogue River Blue Tom Vella and his wife traveled to France in the early 1950s in search of Roquefort. Mr. Vella was able to win over the highly secretive Roquefort Association with  his charming personality and bilingual education. He was presented with a gold pass signed by all functionaries of the Roquefort Society. This granted him access to study every step of Roquefort-making from the functionality of farms to aging cheese in the limestone caves at Cambalou.  With that knowledge he founded this American cheesemaking powerhouse  and they seem to only get better at balancing these big bold flavors.

Peppablues are a healthy and smart appetizer for a picnic or BBQ and they fit right in with all their red, white and blue glory.

 

Peppablues (3.5 points, 2 servings = 7 points total)

2 oz Rogue River Blue

10 ea Peppadews

5 Ways to Have a Blue Christmas

Here at Murray’s we have been raving about Roquefort all month long. Can you blame us? Roquefort is classic, tasty and versatile, perfect for this time of year when lots of people are entertaining.

After we nearly had to say au revoir forever we renewed our love for this French beauty and never looked back. Let’s just say we hope it’s standing nearby when the clock strikes 12 on New Year’s Eve.

And to improve the odds of that happening, here are 5 tasty ways to enjoy one of our favorite cheeses.  Bon appetit!

1. Fresh endive leaves topped with crumbled Roquefort, candied nuts and a dried cherry or cranberry. Sweet. Salty. Crunchy. Awesome.

2. Spread some Roquefort on a fig and wrap it in prosciutto. OH YEAH.

3. Serve a hunk of Roquefort au naturale. With a nice Sauternes on the side. Why mess with a classic?

4. Top your favorite cracker with some Roquefort and drizzle with honey. This sweet treat is the bees knees.

5. Whip it! Roquefort whipped with equal parts butter and cream cheese or sour cream makes an excellent dip. Whip it good! Veggies, chips and all things dip-able will be the perfect companion.

Super Bowl Recipe: Smokey Blue Cheese Dip

Nobody is more patriotic than Murray’s Field Merchandising Specialist Nathan Aldridge (see photographic evidence). As such, one of Nathan’s favorite holidays is coming up soon: Super Bowl Sunday! This year, make Nathan’s blue cheese dip the highlight of your viewing party.

As a cheesemonger I’ve been asked many times for my suggestions for parties, gatherings, weddings, birthdays, you name it.  This time of year however, I do not wait to be asked for my educated opinion.  I yell it from the mountain tops! You can’t watch the Super Bowl without eating chicken wings, and you can’t eat chicken wings with out blue cheese dressing!  That would be like watching the Super Bowl and skipping the commercials.

My favorite Super Bowl Blue Cheese is Rogue Creamery’s Smokey Blue.  For the last 5 years, this dip has been the highlight of every ceremonial chicken wing eating event I have hosted(aka the Super Bowl). The smokiness of this particular blue cheese adds a rustic, woodsy flavor to the dip.  It’s also delightful with carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, and celery (for those of you who like to nibble on the lighter side).

Smokey Blue Cheese Dressing

1/2 tsp. garlic salt
1/2 tsp. white pepper
dash black pepper
1/2 tsp. worcestershire sauce
1/4 c milk
2 tbsp. vinegar
2c  mayonnaise
3/4c crumbled Rogue Creamery Smokey Blue

Directions:
Blend together dry spices then add the Worscestershire sauce. Add the milk then let sit for a few minutes, to dissolve the spices.  Have the mayonnaise measured out as well as the smokey blue cheese crumbles before you add the vinegar to the milk mixture.

Add the vinegar to the milk mixture. It will start to curdle: this is normal.

Add the mayonnaise and whisk together well.  When blended, add the Smokey Blue crumbles.

The longer you let the dressing refrigerate, the better the flavor will be. I suggest preparing 2 days before chow time.

Yield: 3 cups (if you need to make more, make 2 batches, DO NOT double the recipe, the flavors will not blend as well.)

Enjoy!  You can thank me later.